Saturday, 22 December 2012

Gingerbread House

My daughter was dizzy with excitement when she saw a picture of a gingerbread house in a book last month - she begged me to make one with her. I'm glad I did, but I don't think I'll be doing another in a hurry - quite a lot of faffing about! I used this template and info HERE as it was quite thorough and had lots of pictorials. I'll include a pic of how to ensure the roof stays on HARD as lots of people have issues with the roof caving in or sliding off, especially once it's decorated. My daughter had so much decorating it once the architectural part was set. She at so many lollies she wanted to puke though - lollies are not common in this house!

Advice is to cook the dough a little longer than suggested so it sets firmer. I had to re-bake mine for 3 mins to make it harder. Soft dough = caving in roof! I used the store bought royal icing mix, I just find it easier than using egg whites etc. We also want it to last for eating on Xmas Day. You can keep them for up to a week if wrapped in glad-wrap (cling film).


The front.
The back (by mistake I cut out a door and window at the back too! So I covered the door with a tree).

The ends of a lid from a printer paper box cut off to slide over the platter. 2 books for height and jars upturned to stop the roof sliding off while the icing set. You'll want to place cling film under the platter PRIOR to sticking the pieces together as it can't be moved whilst setting.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas Cake

I saw this cool CAKE and here is my version for this Xmas. I think it's really cute and something a little different.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas card DIY

I try to make at least 2/3 of my Xmas cards. Unfortunately the camera we just bought is TERRIBLE and the pictures of all them are too bad to publish! Anyway, this one isn't too bad so I thought I'd put it up now just in case anyone needs inspiration for their own cards this year. There is STILL time to get crafty!
All this took is a Merry Christmas stamp (and ink, obviously) and I sponged around the edges of the coloured papers with some scrap-booking ink (brown) to make it pop a bit more. The trees are all old paint chip samples, a great way to recycle them! I got a cheap Xmas tree paper punch from Spotlight which will come in handy in years to come. I also had some leftover rhinestones to add some detail.

I sure hope none of this years recipients see these! I hope to add more pics when I can figure out how to clean the lens on the already BAD camera. :D

Feel free to copy my design for gifting but please ask first if you are considering commercial purposes



Saturday, 1 December 2012

Give a Hoot (or something)

I made something else I'd saved on Pinterest! My old school friends had a Xmas afternoon tea today and baked these. I won't show you the mammoth Pinterest Fail I had trying to do something fancy with some star biscuits and flood-filling then using a toothpick to drag another colour over the top. What a disaster they were! Anyway, these turned out nice and it's the first time I've used royal icing.
Original from Three HoneyBees
I made these ornaments for my friends out of felt.
Pattern HERE

Pattern HERE

Monday, 26 November 2012

Novembers crafty goodness

Plain tees are so much cheaper, this one cost me $3. I wanted to make it a bit special. So easy to do, I just used a sml amount of pva glue to place the buttons then sewed them on the next day (the pva just washes away in warm water but do only use a sml amount). Easy peasy.
I also had to patch some favourite jeans (yes I know ripped is in but they were becoming indecent)! I got some of that sticky stuff from Spotlight (for the life of me I can't recall what it's called) and ironed it on to the back of the fabric. Then used pinking shears to cut out the squares, then peeled off the backing of the said sticky stuff and ironed the patches on to the jeans. I wanted to ensure they'd stay on so I zig-zagged around the squares then embellished a bit. I really love them now!
I knitted this tunic for a special wee baby born in Sept and embellished it with the butterfly from Watermellish. This pattern is available on at Pulling at Strings for only US$3 - have a look as her original design is to die for.

And hopefully my cousin doesn't see this hat I have knitted her for Xmas. She's been living in Scotland this year so will be enjoying a snowy winter. The pattern is at Carina Spencer's website and is a FREE download. I'm being brave and actually showing my face!

Last but not least - my daughter has book week at school and they have to come dressed up as their favourite book character. She picked the obvious Strawberry Shortcake. Luckily (for her) I'd just managed to leech blue dye from the lower half of a dress of hers over the top white part when 'Nappisanning' it. So cut the bottom off and attached the red spotty fabric, my Mum's friends had given me, to the bottom. I sewed on the strawberry and diamonds on to a white piece of tee shirt material as there was a big star on the front of the white "tee" part of the original dress. She had a hat already that I tacked green fabric on to the visor of and tacked on a strawberry to cover the flower on it originally and some leaves for the top. I had some leftover white ribbon to sew on. All can be easily removed afterwards. Next I got cheap ribbon hanging about and tacked on around the legs of some old white leggings (that also unfortunately got caught in the same Nappisan bucket with the blue dress)! In hindsight if I wanted a quick easy method (and wanted to spend money) I would've used tape to mask the stripes and sprayed green fabric paint on then removed the tape to get stripes. There is a cool tutorial  HERE if you have money to spend and are not inclined to upcycle.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

In memory of my Grandparents

Today we had a memorial service for my grandparents. It's been over a year now since they passed and today was also meant to be an unveiling. Unfortunately something went pear shaped there and we didn't get the headstone in time, so we had a white cross instead - for now.

We decided their ashes should go back to the place we remember them most at. The happy times we shared in this little country town with them, growing up, learning, sharing with them there. It holds a special place in our hearts. All the Christmases we celebrated there, the times I went down on the bus by myself to stay and of course the fabulous times my brother and I had there together. Catching frogs at the pond, playing aeroplanes in boxes on their front porch, swinging under the oak tree, hiding in the hedge, popping to their shop for an ice-block and celebrating special events at the church my Grandad led.

I never got to say goodbye to Nana. Grandad passed away last year on my daughters birthday and we were are away on holiday, but I got to go to the funeral. Nana passed away not long after him but that time I was very sick with the flu and my daughter had pneumonia. That was the hardest thing ever, not being able to visit her when I heard what was going to happen and not being able to attend the funeral and say goodbye. I felt for the past year that I had really missed out, I'd had no closure.

Today was so good for me, personally. I was asked to speak at the service. For the life of me I couldn't think what I would like to say. I spent hours pouring over verses online, from other people, to no avail. Everything seemed too airy-fairy or too heavy. Since my faith has been all over the show the last little while, I found religious readings didn't sit right, but I also didn't want to offend others who still have that belief.

Yesterday, 20 minutes before the school pick up run, I remembered a quote in a book my husband gave me about Tranquillity. For the life of me I can't find it tonight, but it said something about your own courage being the only thing standing in the way of creativity. So I realised I needed to have faith in myself to say something from the heart, instead of trying to make someone else's words fit what I felt. I wrote the following in that 20 minutes, cried a few tears and felt like a HUGE weight had lifted from my shoulders - finally I could say to them what I never got the chance to at the funeral.

So tonight, as I gazed out the window at the beautiful reddish-purple sunset (after a rainy and cold day at the cemetery), I spotted my husband busy planting vegetable seeds. And I thought about the cycle of life. My grandparents sowed the seeds of love, discipline, wonder and compassion in us. They nurtured that. I felt compelled to blog what I said today at the service....



As I was thinking of something to say today, I was reminded of the words of Thornton Wilder. "The greatest tribute to the dead is not grief, but gratitude".

I can't pretend I don't miss them a lot. But whilst they are no longer here in body, I remind myself of how lucky we were to have had such kind, compassionate and thoughtful examples in our lives. 

Both Nana and Grandad have left lasting impressions on so many. I'm thankful for their 'softly-softly' approach to making a difference in the world. Their quiet and humble way of setting an example. I will always be grateful for all the meals Nana cooked for me while I was working nearby where they lived in their latter years, so I had some company at lunchtimes. All the inspirational chats we had together at the table. I'm grateful for the wisdom they passed down to us and the good habits they helped us form.

I'm grateful that when my friends were trying to chase Brad Pitt look-a-likes, that I knew I'd be better off finding a man like my Grandad. I'm grateful they taught us to work hard and to think of others and try to make a difference in the world.  

I'm grateful we were always welcome and always encouraged and supported. 

I'll always be grateful for Nana teaching me some of her crafty skills. I'm sure she wanted to tear her hair out teaching me to crochet (which admittedly I still cannot fathom)! But she always stayed positive. I miss Nana so much when I finish a knitted item and I can't share it with her now. I miss being able to ask Grandad anything and our great debates. I miss Nana's sense of humour.

Nana and Grandad live on in us though. May we think of them often and feel blessed and be reminded of their ways. May we look back at their lives for guidance and inspiration, and make them proud. 

I will be forever grateful that they showed us what love is. 

In the words of Emily Dickinson; "Unable are the Loved to die, for Love is immortality".



Tonight I have a lighter heart and I feel my grandparents close to me - even if that closeness is just what they left behind in all of the lives they touched. I am truly blessed to have had such wonderful grandparents whom helped and guided so many.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

School Year Memories Album

I wanted to make something for daughter to be able to fill in each year, it's a hoot looking back at what you liked, who you played with and what your handwriting looked like! The store bought albums were crazy expensive and mostly suited to the American market. I thought I'd make a generic page that can be printed off and filled in for each year. For our own album, I will make it in to a book with plain pages opposite this main one for a class or portrait photo and stick a large envelope on the page to put in special awards or certificates.

You can find the pdf for printing HERE. Have fun!

The possibilities are endless in regards to how you make this in to an album. You could make it in to a ring binder or a stapled book, scrapbook parts of it etc.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Thinking of Christmas!

Goodness me, I was in a store the other day and saw all the Xmas stuff out. Enough to scare seven devils outta a gal! So I've begun making some stuff as gifts.
Felt Apple Coasters. You can find the templates HERE

A Xmas bunting, one as a gift, one for us. Fabric from Spotlight.

This is my version of this creative persons design Here

Monday, 24 September 2012

A jumper for ME!

I always seem to knit for others - and if not knitting for little people I seem to only do hats! I found a pattern I thought was simple enough to not take me 20 years to knit however, and I really like the way it's turned out. It's all knitted in one piece like a cross shape and all in knit and purl - EASY! Then you sew up the sides together and under the arms. This pattern is called Nati and is by Lucy Hulet. I adapted it to suit a lighter weight yarn (SkeiNZ 14ply chunky).

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Summer Fun Layout

One more down, only three more layouts to go on my daughter's 1st year album! I love these three pics - happy times. :) I used mainly Kaisercraft Fine and Sunny collection for this.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Something Different

I found this cool idea on Pinterest (can't link to it as it seems to go somewhere dodgy instead). I have a heap of old broken antique china, I can't wait to do something with it and this is a cool way to upcycle your old garden tools. Nice way to jazz up an ugly fence or wall in the garden.

Family Mini Golf Layout

I love these photos of my 1 year old daughter joining in on the family mini golf afternoon. Her method of 'helping' was to wait until someone had just putted, crawl on to the green, then steal the ball and place it in the hole. Very helpful - not so much fun when you nearly got it in the hole however and then have to start from scratch (and you're normally not all that good at mini golf)!!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Beading

I've loved beading for a long time - I wish I'd taken photos of everything I've ever created. I used to make jewellery in my spare time for the hospice to sell (out of all their old beads and precious stones they had donated). Here is a small sample of some of the things I remembered to photograph (incl my stitch markers for knitting).
Necklace with semi precious stones for my mother in law

Button earrings - Sewed 2 buttons together than glued them to posts.

Earrings
Czech glass necklace with seed beads


Swarovski crystal earrings
My wedding earrings
 And my stitch markers (which I sell).





Miracle Bead Peas in a Pod Earrings - Sept 2013











Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A special birthday celebration

We had my daughters 1st birthday celebration in combination with her dedication (see earlier post). Her favourite toy was a colourful pull along caterpillar, hence the cake I made her.
5 layouts to go!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Kitchen Gadgets

Our kitchen appears a reasonable size but unfortunately when we built it, we had no idea about how to make it user friendly. Consequently we ended up with food out on the bench, hardening in the sun! We couldn't get any of those funky wire baskets you see in trendy kitchens these days and were at a loss to think what to do with one redundant little broom cupboard. I googled and I searched Pinterest to no avail. So I thought I'd post this here and pin it so that perhaps if anyone else out there feels they've no idea on what to do for a storage solution, this may inspire. Sorry about the mess, we aren't Home and Garden here. :D
These are standard drawers like you see in any modern-ish NZ kitchens. We took the hinges off the original door and the drawers were put on runners attached to the cupboard walls and then screwed on to the door (so that 3 drawers pull with the door and 2 pull out by hand). We couldn't attach all the drawers to the door it would have become too heavy when pulled out. All my teas/ coffee/ drink powders, vitamins etc fit so nicely. You;d not believe the space this has provided, I can get the cereals off my bench and out of my display cupboard and back in the pantry now! All these fixtures can be purchased yourself if you have the DIY skill (Mitre 10 supplies them on order). Otherwise a kitchen/ joiner can easily and quickly install them.

Tooth Fairy!

Quite a few of the kids in my daughter's class have started to lose their teeth already! I sometimes catch Miss C at the bathroom mirror checking to see if any of her toothy-pegs might just be a bit wiggly. Miss C doesn't like strange new things (creature of habit with a good sense of self preservation!) so I wonder if she may get a bit concerned about having a wiggly tooth when it happens. So, in this event, Tooth Fairy Pillow to the rescue!
Doing faces is not my forte so I was was pretty pleased with this attempt (usually small children run crying from my toys due to their monstrous looking faces). ;) There is a small pocket at the back for a coin.
This pattern is available for free HERE and is written well for those who struggle a bit with wrapped stitches and short rows (like me)! I added the "halo" to make it more fairy-ish and made it girly. I also added the heart just by crocheting a chain stitch through the pocket before stitching it on.

I think she'll like it and I think if she does get a bit worried about wiggly teeth, this will ease the fear and make it a little exciting.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

A very special day

Only 6 layouts to go until I have finished my daughter's first year! In 2008 we had her dedication. Inside the pocket is the 2 readings, read by friends and family. Her song was Butterfly by Delta Goodrem (hence the butterfly).

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Christmas Layout

I've finally got this album to December! Not long to go now until I've finished my daughters first year album. Please excuse the flowers over the faces (for privacy).

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Mother's Day High Tea

 We usually go out for a meal or afternoon tea for Mother's Day and lately have been opting for High Tea at a special local cafe that has all the trimmings. This year we thought we'd do our own High Tea as my Mum and my Aunt have lost their own mother and this is the first mother's day without her. My cousins live out of town so we thought it would be nice to do one for the bunch of us girls (plus hubby)!

I was crazy enough to think I could attempt perfect macarons. I did strawberry and dark chocolate ones. Hmm, what a disaster. Seems there is a real science to this - one I couldn't grasp. I call these "mankyrons" as they were all air and an awful chewy goop at the base. The oven temp suggested was far too hot and the first batch cracked. The next lots were undercooked so I put them back in for another bake (made no difference, they were still just as awful)! I wonder if I didn't beat the egg whites enough or the egg white/ caster sugar mix. They didn't taste like strawberry and the pink turned peach on stirring in the ground almonds. The it turned brown on baking.
Mankyrons
I managed to get around 8 of them to look presentable, shame they tasted bad (although my husband is happy to devour the lot).
They may look right but they are HOLLOW! And not very tasty!
Thankfully I made some cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches and my husband made some cinnamon scrolls and some little scones.
Made Mum a Mother's Day card (inspiration from Pinterest).

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Converse Booties!

I made these for a friends new bubba and I'm sure he'll look super cool in them. Patterns available on Ravelry.


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Paper Craft

This is probably as good a time as ever to update my blog with something new - my hubby and I are both sick at home with chest infections and mine is very much beginning to feel like the pneumonia I had last year. Hoping the antibiotics kick it as I am all light headed from not being able to cough it up and get enough breath! Typically it's still the school holidays and one little person is requiring lots of attention, especially as she was sick the entire week prior to the holidays, then had 2 sick parents the first week and now stuck at home still with infections. Over it!

Anyway, thought I would share my scrap-booking all in the one spot. I started scrapping when my daughter was a baby. I wanted to scrap-book the 1st year of her life but mainly just wanted to make the normal black paged photo album into something just slightly more special, without having to cover entire pages with expensive papers. I'll only put up the better ones here as of course I started off with no skill whatsoever - not realising there were a host of inspirational websites available to show techniques and ideas. I was somewhat restricted to flat embellishments too so that they wouldn't damage photos on the other side of the album page.

I will include some of my cards, etc too. Some of these layouts are copied from pics I saw on the internet, some are my own designs and some are inspired by others layouts. Hopefully they provide some inspiration for others too. :) As usual, being a public blog I have had to cover faces for privacy, sorry I know a flower over faces ruins it all a little!




A birthday card for a friend with little photos of special memories of her.



A wedding card 

An advent calendar you can personalise. Find the template HERE

We personalised ours with pics relevant to our daughter.
A canvas made for a family member
I made this bag out of thin scrapbook paper and used an old paper bag as a template. I found a pic I like online and printed it out for the label. You will find a template and instructions for making a bag HERE though.
These cones were filled with red and white sweets for Xmas. I put the sweets in cellophane and tied the top with a Xmas bow. I added ribbon to the tops as handles. HERE is a cone template.
I copied this idea off Pinterest and made templates. If anyone wants a template, just "comment" below with your email addy and I will pass on for you.
Layout

Layout

Layout




This one is very special to me as my grandparents passed away last year.



Kaisercraft Fine and Sunny collection
Alan's 90th birthday card - Oct 2012. Design from HERE

Wedding card - this had a pocket inside for a cheque.
Xmas card designed by me 2012.
Another wedding card - with pocket inside for a koha. 2013
A Mother's Day card inspired by Tarynne Wise - 2013
40th birthday card (based on something I saw on Pinterest) - 2013
Last page of my daughters 1st year scrapbook!
Cards 2013

Pop out Christmas Tree Card - 2013